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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Psychological and Behavioural Sciences

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Psychological and Behavioural Sciences at Cambridge 

The Psychological and Behavioural Sciences course at Cambridge is a relatively new course within the University, which combines the Department of Psychology’s many strengths in areas such as cognitive neuroscience, neurobiology, social psychology and developmental psychology.  It is an exciting course, which allows students to build firm foundations in the core areas of psychology, including research methods, in both first and second year, before specialising to a greater extent in their final year.  The final year also includes a compulsory project or dissertation, giving students experience of working on a research study.  Throughout the course, in addition to the papers taught in the Department of Psychology, students can also choose papers from other relevant Departments, including Human, Social and Political Sciences, Computer Science, Philosophy and Linguistics, as well as other biological Natural Sciences departments. 

Full details about the structure and content of the course can be found at the Departmental website.

Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (PBS) in Murray Edwards College 

We welcome three or four undergraduate students in Psychological and Behavioural Sciences each year. Within the College as a whole this means we have between ten and twelve undergraduate students at any given time. We also have several  postgraduate students studying relevant topics (including those outside the Department of Psychology in institutes such as the MRC Cognition and Brain Unit), and three Fellows and Bye-Fellows interested in Psychological and Behavioural Sciences or in closely related subject areas, such as neurophysiology. 

The College provides strong supervision in all key areas.  Dr Jenn Murray, who is also Director of Studies in Psychological and Behavioural Sciences, covers much of the core teaching for PBS1 in first year, and many other papers taken in first year (often in conjunction with the Natural Sciences Tripos or Human, Social and Political Sciences Tripos) are also supervised by Fellows of the College. Dr Juliet Foster is able to supervise for the core Social and Developmental Psychology paper in second year (PBS3). 

Although the course is still relatively new, Psychological and Behavioural Science students have already formed a strong group within the College, and have achieved some excellent results. They speak highly of their experiences:

"It's an amazing college with a great atmosphere, where there is always someone there to help you out." Rebecca

Our academic Fellows are also active in research, and their research spans the breadth of psychology and neuroscience. Dr Jenn Murray works within the well-established neuroscience and addiction group within the Department of Psychology, and Dr Juliet Foster is a social psychologist specialising in understandings of health and illness (especially mental health).  Additionally, Dr Thomas Cope is a Bye Fellow who specialises in clinical neuroscience as well as being a specialist registrar in neurology. 

Applying to study here 

We look for students who are enthusiastic about their subject, motivated to learn more and have achieved highly in their examinations to date. At interview we will be looking for evidence of some of the following qualities: ability to think analytically, considering both quantitative and qualitative data; mathematical skills; an interest in and engagement with different areas of psychology. In preparing to apply or for your interview it is a good idea to think about where your particular interest lie and what you have already done to purse this further (eg by wider reading or internet-based research). You do not need to have studied Psychology at A level (or equivalent) but you should think about the way you have developed your interest in the subject both inside and outside the classroom. Mathematics and Biology provide a helpful background, as do humanities subjects in which you are called to analyse and to write essays. 

We usually set typical/standard offers in A levels or their equivalent, ie usually A*AA.  Full details of entry requirements and selection processes in PBS across all colleges can be found on the central University webpages.

Moving into your career 

Our students follow a wide range of careers when they leave: some will want to stay closely involved with their subject interest while others  will be keen to apply the skills and attributes they have developed while studying here to a wide range of opportunities. While we are only just seeing the first cohort of students in Psychological and Behavioural Sciences graduate this year, but students who have taken psychology previously in the College (either within the Natural Sciences Tripos or within the old Politics, Psychology and Sociology Tripos) have gone on to excel in a variety of areas, including clinical psychology,

Within the college, we support students in developing their skills and in exploring varied career options through our Murray Edwards Gateway Programme.

Find out more

Many students find it helpful to contact us by email or to visit us to find out more.  You are welcome to do so [link]

Fellows in this subject